US Army Backs Down & Discharges Alexis Hutchinson

A single-mom soldier who says she refused to deploy to Afghanistan because she had no family able to care for her young son will be discharged from the military instead of facing a court-martial, the Army said Thursday. Spc. Alexis Hutchinson, an Army cook stationed at Hunter Army Airfield in Savannah, was arrested in November after skipping her unit’s deployment flight. Hutchinson, 21, said she couldn’t leave her son because her mother had backed out of plans to keep the child a few days before the soldier’s scheduled departure.

The Army filed criminal charges last month against Hutchinson of Oakland, Calif., but a general at neighboring Fort Stewart chose to settle the case by granting her an administrative discharge rather than try her in a military court.

“She’s excited that she’s no longer facing jail and can still be with her son, which is the most important thing,” said Rai Sue Sussman, Hutchinson’s civilian attorney. “We’re very happy about it right now.” The decision still carries consequences for Hutchinson. She is being demoted in rank to private and will lose benefits afforded to military service members and veterans, Fort Stewart spokesman Kevin Larson said.

Posted in Anti-Racism, War. Tags: . Comments Off

Aid?

Photo BBC

When all you’ve got is a hammer, every problem looks like a nail

Will Santa Be Bringing Death From Above This Year?

Three separate and independent parties have mentioned the NORAD Santa tracker to me with glowing silliness. They scowl at me like I just fist fucked Tiny Tim to death when I point out this is a PR exercise by the US military who otherwise are massacring people across the Earth with drones. They even enjoy recounting how it says he just overflew Afghanistan and Pakistan, not countries known for celebrating a Christian holiday but countries currently experiencing widespread intervention by our military, funny that eh? Here are two pictures of what a drone strike does to children-

But it’s Christmas‘ they say,’ be nice!‘ I am quite happy to be nice but fucking NORAD started it, when the military pushes into this season of peace on earth and goodwill to all men™ I am not the one in the wrong by pushing back. Oddly I really don’t remember much in the Bible about Jesus Hoo Haa-ing awesome air strikes. Why is it left to this atheist to remind these festive sorts that the birthday thing they are all allegedly celebrating was for a figure who other than kicking the ass of bankers was not in favour of war or summary execution by remote controlled flying robot.

A local official and a tribal source said 49 civilians, including 23 women and 17 children, were killed in that air strike. The civilian casualties sparked protests in Abyan and two people were killed by twin explosions after one such protest on Monday.

This is the way kewwwllll snuff video game young people are taught they are being heroic for playing on-

And the SantaTracker is just a bit of fun. Similar Santa silliness was the only response by US proxy Colombia when Venezuela spotted a drone in their airspace, the Empire never rests from being on the make, including PR efforts which allow their aggressive spying to be dismissed with a silly news item level of off handedness. Seems the real face of Santa might be that offered by Futurama-


He knows when you are sleeping,
He knows when you’re on the can,
He’ll hunt you down and blast your ass
From here to Pakistan

You better not breathe,
You better not move,
You’re better off dead I’m telling you dude
Santa Claus is gunning you down

The Monsters of Empire

Colorado Springs Gazette
Casualties of War, Part I: The hell of war comes home
Casualties of War, Part II: Warning signs

Excerpts-

Marquez, who was arrested before the latest programs were created, said he would never have pulled the trigger if he had not gone to Iraq.

“If I was just a guy off the street, I might have hesitated to shoot,” Marquez said this spring as he sat in the Bent County Correctional Facility, where he is serving 30 years. “But after Iraq, it was just natural.”

More killing by more soldiers followed.

In August 2007, Louis Bressler, 24, robbed and shot a soldier he picked up on a street in Colorado Springs.

In December 2007, Bressler and fellow soldiers Bruce Bastien Jr., 21, and Kenneth Eastridge, 24, left the bullet-riddled body of a soldier from their unit on a west-side street.

In May and June 2008, police say Rudolfo Torres-Gandarilla, 20, and Jomar Falu-Vives, 23, drove around with an assault rifle, randomly shooting people.

In September 2008, police say John Needham, 25, beat a former girlfriend to death.

Most of the killers were from a single 500-soldier unit within the brigade called the 2nd Battalion, 12th Infantry Regiment, which nicknamed itself the “Lethal Warriors.”

The battalion is overwhelmingly made up of young men, who, demographically, have the highest murder rate in the United States, but the brigade still has a murder rate 20 times that of young males as a whole.

The killings are only the headline-grabbing tip of a much broader pyramid of crime. Since 2005, the brigade’s returning soldiers have been involved in brawls, beatings, rapes, DUIs, drug deals, domestic violence, shootings, stabbings, kidnapping and suicides.

Like Marquez, most of the jailed soldiers struggled to adjust to life back home after combat. Like Marquez, many showed signs of growing trouble before they ended up behind bars. Like Marquez, all raise difficult questions about the cause of the violence.

Did the infantry turn some men into killers, or did killers seek out the infantry? Did the Army let in criminals, or did combat-tattered soldiers fall into criminal habits? Did Fort Carson fail to take care of soldiers, or did soldiers fail to take advantage of care they were offered?

And, most importantly, since the brigade is now in Afghanistan, is there a way to keep the violence from happening again?

“After being in Iraq, it feels like everyone is the enemy,” he said. “You feel like you need a gun so they don’t come to get you.”

His friends all felt the same way.

Nash slept with a loaded .45 under his pillow.

Butler kept a Glock .40-caliber with him all the time, even when he rocked his newborn baby.

Marquez bought three pistols, a riot-style shotgun and an assault rifle like the one he carried in Iraq. He carried a pistol constantly, he said, even when he went to church.

His buddy, Freeman, said he bought himself a “big, scary” snub-nose .357 revolver.

In a December 2007 letter to the Inspector General’s Office of Fort Carson, which investigates crimes within the Army, Needham told of the atrocities he saw. His father provided a copy to The Gazette.

One sergeant shot a boy riding a bicycle down the street for no reason, John Needham said. When Needham and another soldier rushed to deliver first aid, the sergeant said, “No, let him bleed out.”

Another sergeant shot a man in the head without cause while questioning him, Needham said, then mutilated the body, lashed it to the hood of his Humvee and drove around the neighborhood blaring warnings to insurgents in Arabic that “they would be next.”

Other Iraqis were shot for invented reasons, then mutilated, Needham said.

The sergeants particularly liked removing victims’ brains, Needham said.

Needham offered a photograph of a soldier removing brains from an Iraqi on the hood of a Humvee and other photos as evidence. His father supplied copies to The Gazette.

The Army’s criminal investigation division interviewed several soldiers from the unit and said it was “unable to substantiate any of his allegations.”

Life In A Garrison State

An excerpt from a piece by Mirjam Hadar Meerschwam, read in full @ Mondoweiss

Following the “raid” on our house by two non-uniformed policemen, Miki and Eytan, at 7:15, last week, just as I was helping our daughter to get dressed for school, it occurred to me that our house, in a regular, boring suburb, is actually surrounded by “security” related individuals and organizations. On the left, there’s D., whom I just mentioned, and on the right it’s Y. who has a fairly senior job in the military industries and stopped being friendly once he understood our family were leftists. Very near is the ugly “duplex” – an ungainly two-family house which after standing empty for years was recently let to a nameless firm. Its windows are still as shuttered as they were during the empty times, and its front yard remains a garbage strewn desert as before – but casually dressed young men carrying various types of briefcases and rucksacks come in and out. It is common knowledge by now that this is what they locally call a “shoo-shoo house”: the army’s secret services use civilian property, everybody knows that. Nobody asked or informed us. At the bottom of the road is a huge, pastoral looking area – disenchantingly protected by electronic fencing and a number of forbidding guard dogs. This no-go park belongs, again, to Israel’s military industries: they develop explosives here – underground. At times our buildings shake with the impact. Much has been said and agitated about the way these underground adventures have affected our environment – there are fearful rumors about cancer incidence. Meanwhile work has not stopped.

 I’ve often thought and spoken about these things, one way or another. For instance during the recent attack of the Israeli army on Gaza, when the Israeli public was told about the cruelty of Hamas who presumably placed themselves squarely among Gaza’s civilian population.

 But this morning, in the context, now, of my own and my friends’ recent interrogations I thought specifically about the more subtle work of intimidation, delegitimization, social ostracizing.

 An Israeli feminist antimilitarist group and registered non-profit organization, New Profile, the group of which I am a member, is these days subject to an unprecedented attack carried out by means of the state and the police. New Profile addresses itself to Israeli society. It is our aim to raise public consciousness to what militarism is and how it affects civic society. We also give moral and legal support and information to young people who contact us having decided not to enlist in the military. This is information about the army’s own accepted and legal routes toward exemption. Typically, such information is not part of the eye-catching display in my son’s former high school. On that poster the various army units vie to win the favors of the not-yet recruits with promises of their various “challenges”. Across the entrance hall, facing it in sinister unselfawareness, the national flag gives permanent honor to a list of former pupils who lost their lives in military service.

Posted in Israel-Palestine, Lockdown. Tags: , , . Comments Off

What’s The Worst That Could Happen?

Since 1945, the United States has lost 11 nuclear weapons

And if you live near Savannah, Georgia… I’d move.

Marine Jury Acquits Marine of War Crime

That he confessed too.

Why would Iraqis not welcome their wonderful liberators?

A military jury on Thursday acquitted a Marine sergeant on charges of murdering an unarmed detainee during battle in Fallujah, Iraq. The jury also acquitted Sgt. Ryan Weemer of dereliction of duty in the November 2004 death. The panel of eight Marines who served in Iraq or Afghanistan got the case Wednesday and deliberated more than four hours.

The prosecutor, Capt. Nicholas Gannon, recounted that Weemer said in recorded interviews that he shot the man and told a squadmate that he would have to live with that for the rest of his life. Weemer also said in interviews that he and other Marines shot a total of four men in a house after their squad suffered its first fatality.

Weemer had previously refused to testify about the incident thus helping Sgt. Jose Luis Nazario get off-

At Nazario’s trial over the summer, two members of 3rd Squad testified to hearing the shots and seeing the corpses, but not to witnessing executions. The only men alleged to have seen the killings — Nelson, Weemer and Nazario — refused to testify. Nelson and Weemer were held in contempt last June and jailed until a judge finally ordered their release on July 3. The jury was left to deliberate with secondhand accounts of the killings and the detached witness statements of Nelson and Weemer. On August 28, a federal jury acquitted Nazario of all charges.

But he claims he was troubled by his conscience-

“Instead, Weemer told of arguing with his squad leader, then-Sgt. Jose Luis Nazario, against the order to kill prisoners and then acquiescing,” the Times reported. “‘I definitely wasn’t the type to disobey an order,’ he said.’

Yeah that would be bad, disobeying an order, thus triumphs martial culture. If you have the Courage To ResistCourage To Resist, these people will help.

I Had To Laugh

In this exciting Terminatory piece about the Empire researching …well terminators, there is this bit-

Autonomous armed robotic systems probably will be operating by 2020, according to John Pike, an expert on defense and intelligence matters and the director of the security Web site GlobalSecurity.org in Washington.

This prospect alarms experts, who fear that machines will be unable to distinguish between legitimate targets and civilians in a war zone.

Because now no civilians are deliberately and/or accidentally killed by human troops programmed to kill. Naïve, ridiculous, propagandised -and progandising-childish idiots. Our militaries kill innocent civilians, we are terrorists, we commit war crimes. And then we celebrate it.

With flags.

Morons.

Feeding The War Machine

At the strip mall in Hot Springs where Daren Stewart worked, however, most of the recruiters were on antidepressants or antianxiety medication. They worked 12- to 14-hour shifts, six or seven days a week, Stewart said. Commanders cursed, humiliated and screamed at soldiers who fell short of monthly quotas, threatening to ruin their careers or withhold time off with loved ones, he said. Stewart turned to alcohol to cope with stress so severe it destroyed his marriage and made his hair fall out.

Sgt. 1st Class Henry Patrick said fellow recruiters in the Hot Springs station were told to shift conversations with potential recruits away from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. That didn’t sit right with him. “I’d tell them they had a 50-50 chance,” said Patrick, 43. “For the few people I did put in, they liked the fact that I was honest with them.”

Staff Sgt. Wade Bozeman, another Hot Springs recruiter, said he also hated the tacit expectation that he should compromise his ethics to meet recruiting goals, whether it meant falsifying records or lying to recruits. Deeply depressed, the 37-year-old gained 50 pounds and started suffering from insomnia, blackouts and panic attacks. His wife, Jill Bozeman, asked his commanders for help, to no avail.

The Courage to Resist National Week of Letter Writing to Show Support for War Resisters is March 16-23, 2009

We are asking allies of the G.I. resistance movement to gather together to write:

  • Letters of support to war resisters in prison, awaiting court martial, or seeking refuge in Canada
  • Letters to the Canadian government asking that war resisters be allowed to stay
  • Letters to our own government demanding amnesty for war resisters

[More @ Courage to Resist]

There May Be Trouble Ahead…

The US Department of Defense plans to deploy 20,000 troops nationwide by 2011 to help state and local officials respond to terror or nuclear attacks and emergencies, The Washington Post said Monday.

Citing Pentagon officials, the newspaper said the plan calls for three rapid-reaction forces.

The first 4,700-strong unit, built around an active-duty combat brigade, is based at Fort Stewart, Georgia, and is already available for deployment, according to General Victor Renuart, commander of the US Northern Command, it said.

Two additional groups will later join nearly 80 smaller National Guard and reserve units made up of about 6,000 troops to support local and state authorities nationwide, The Post said.

They will all would be trained to respond to domestic chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear, or high-yield explosive attacks.

The newspaper said that civil liberties groups and libertarians had expressed concern that the plan could undermine the Posse Comitatus Act, a 130-year-old law restricting the military’s role in domestic law enforcement.

Before the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, dedicating 20,000 troops to domestic response — a nearly sevenfold increase in five years — “would have been extraordinary to the point of unbelievable,” Paul McHale, assistant defense secretary for homeland defense, said in remarks last month noted by the Post. But the recognition that civilian authorities may be overwhelmed in a catastrophe [Hurricane Katrina might be used as an example] prompted “a fundamental change in military culture.”

Perfect shock doctrine sales pitch, you send the military and National Guard into an imperial war of conquest then allow a natural disaster and starved infrastructure to overwhelm the Gulf coast & New Orleans and bingo you get a nice reason to militarise society (even more, 1st BCT already deployed) and ensure the Pentagon keeps sucking up the cash…just as recession bites and the rich siphon off more than ever (banks got the bailout but you? Well they are probably about to close $2 trillion in credit lines, so um live within your means and work harder -hoping that means you get more income, not always a given eh?- Lost your job? Have you considered suicide prole scum?). This is a tell, they expect civil unrest as the corporatists of both parties remain unrepentant for the recession/depression they created. Deployment also gives the Pentagon more political power, what representative with troops deployed in their constituency will move against military spending and lose the troops vote (already any area with bases or industrial plants for war -not ‘defense’- is beholden to the almighty patrio war porn worship), so the Empire goes. This rightfully should be seen as another cost of the Iraq war, the army have crossed the Rubicon. 911/waronterror ™ the fig leaf for the lockdown. The real motor for this, unbound US imperialism, goes unmentioned largely even as its beneficiaries and salesmen are exposed.

Enforcing One Occupation By Celebrating Another

The most shameless use of the military for political propaganda purposes since Bush’s ‘Mission Accomplished’ piece of theatre-

A homecoming parade for soldiers returning from Iraq and Afghanistan has passed off peacefully in Belfast. Thousands of people, many waving Union flags, cheered as the parade made its through the city centre. Police have estimated that there were around 30,000 people at the event, either supporting or protesting against it.

But the bitter sectarian divisions of Northern Ireland bubbled up to the surface at the parade with a section of loyalists taunting republicans on the other side of the police lines. As well as hurling missiles, the loyalists sang disparaging songs about Bobby Sands, the IRA hunger striker. Prior to the parade, the police intercepted a bus full of republicans from Co Armagh and prevented them going into the city. The SDLP assembly member Alex Attwood said lessons needed to learned from the controversy, given how close the city had come to being plunged into widespread sectarian violence.

Speaking behind police lines close to the Eirigi republican dissident protest, Attwood said: “Questions have to be asked as to how we got into the potentially disastrous situation. And those who hyped it up on both sides must think again about their actions, which brought us very close to disaster.”

The controversy started after Belfast City Council split and offered a civic reception to British armed forces personnel, returning from Iraq and Afghanistan. Then the Ministry of Defence announced it would stage a homecoming parade in central Belfast, similar to events held in many UK cities.

Yeah what possible problems could the British Military triumphantly marching down a Belfast street possibly create? Clearly the British Empire ain’t much now but what it has, it likes to taunt. And as for the general practice of parades to put a human face on the war to counter opposition to New Labour’s war crimes of choice is simply inciting social pressure to ‘support the troops’ merging into ‘support the wars’. Even as some victims of those wars are imprisoned in our Border Agency detention camps then flown back to face extreme peril in a war zone. Where’s their parade?

Four More Wars

I believe the accepted newspeak for aggressive imperial expansion is- a strong America. The military industrial complex is setting up the next stooge to either increase the spending, already more than rest of the world combined, or to appear ‘weak on defense‘ by just maintaining spending at that more than the rest of the world combined level. Just in case someone gets a wild idea like spending it (that which isn’t already lost into the markets shadowy embrace) on nurturing life -healthcare, education, welfare- rather than blowing it into tiny shredded bloody charred bits.

Pentagon officials have prepared a new estimate for defense spending that is $450 billion more over the next five years than previously announced figures.

The new estimate, which the Pentagon plans to release shortly before President Bush leaves office, would serve as a marker for the new president and is meant to place pressure on him to either drastically increase the size of the defense budget or defend any reluctance to do so, according to several former senior budget officials who are close to the discussions.

Experts note that releasing such documents in the twilight of an administration is a well-worn tactic, and that incoming presidents often disregard such guidance in order to pursue their own priorities.

And with the nation’s economy caught up in a global financial meltdown, it remains unclear whether either Sen. John McCain , R-Ariz., Sen. Barack Obama , D-Ill., or a Democratic Congress would support such large increases for defense next year.

“This is a political document,” said one former senior budget official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity. “It sets up the new administration immediately to have to make a decision of how to deal with the perception that they are either cutting defense or adding to it.”

Dov Zakheim, the Pentagon’s top budget official from 2001 to 2004, who is not involved in the current discussions, agreed.

“The thinking behind it is pretty straightforward,” Zakheim said. “They are setting a baseline for a new administration that then will have to defend cutting it.”

Class War Jnr.

A ground-breaking agreement to allow state school pupils to join cadet forces in some of Britain’s most elite private schools is to be announced this month. Six of the country’s top fee-paying schools – including City of London boys’ school and Highgate – have agreed to open up their Combined Cadet Forces to neighbouring state schools.

The move is designed to give more pupils a taste of army life and follows a call from the Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, for more state schools to set up their own army corps to give their pupils more of a sense of discipline. All six schools involved in the first tranche are in London, but the scheme will be extended nationwide if successful.

This desperately calls for a re-imagining of if…. learn tactics, get access to the weapons, then…stop taking orders off the toffs.

MOD Admits…*Torture*…

Yep, although of course the the ‘t’ word is not mentioned, oh no that’s what filthy foreign types do, when we do it, it’s regrettable abuse (if found out, if witnesses are still alive and lawyers help them for years) when our noble forces of democracy do it-

Nine Iraqis who were assaulted and sexually abused [Tortured] by British soldiers while being held at an army camp are to receive up to £1m in damages after the Ministry of Defence admitted liability.

In the latest case, nine more Iraqis made allegations of “humiliating” abuse after they were arrested by the 1st Royal Regiment of Fusiliers in Operation Ali Baba, which was aimed at catching and deterring looters who were stealing humanitarian aid from a British Army camp.

Four soldiers were convicted at courts martial in Germany 2005 of offences at Camp Breadbasket after photographs emerged of Iraqis being abused, including being suspended in nets from a forklift truck, and forced to adopt simulated sexual positions.

No one was charged in connection with forcing Iraqis to simulate sex acts and give a thumbs-up for the camera, despite months of investigation by the Royal Military Police.

The MoD admitted yesterday that unlawful “assaults and batteries” were suffered by nine Iraqi men claiming damages for abuse by members of the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers in May 2003. SapnaMalik, a partner at Leigh Day & Co solicitors who are representing the men in their claims against the MoD, said: “It is good that the MoD has admitted that the treatment received by each of the claimants was unlawful, although its refusal to accept that Camp Breadbasket falls within the ambit of the Human Rights Act is frustrating. The maltreatment of the men was hideous, humiliating and degrading and the legacy lingers with them to this day.

“We hope that the admission marks the MoD’s willingness to resolve the claims fairly so that the men can try to finally move forward with their lives.”

However, it is understood that the MoD has requested further details of the abuse, including medical reports and witness statements before making any payouts. The MoD has also denied that the Human Rights Act or European Convention on Human Rights extended to the humanitarian aid distribution centre where the abuses occurred.

Um yeah, because human rights all depend on geography,have they been consulting with the Border Agency? Just read that again- The MoD has also denied that the Human Rights Act or European Convention on Human Rights extended to the humanitarian aid distribution centre- one more time- The MoD has also denied that the Human Rights Act or European Convention on Human Rights extended to the humanitarian aid distribution centre- got that? And they say Military Intelligence is an oxymoron. Lie about the war, lie about the basic meaning of words. Humanitarian intervention anyone?

No one was charged in connection with forcing Iraqis to simulate sex acts and give a thumbs-up for the camera, despite months of investigation by the Royal Military Police.- Yep that’s a culture that respects human rights and isn’t full of -sublimated sexual- violence and certainly no code of silence operating there.

It’s almost like the Iraqis don’t like being occupied and spoilt with splendid hi-tech death squads. And please note Ben Griffin is still gagged.

Posted in Media, Militarism. Tags: , , . Comments Off

I Don’t Think ‘Smuggle’ Means What You Think It Means

The Free Gaza boats are not at sea on their return trip to Cyprus with several Palestinians who could not leave as Israel controls who exits and Gaza (until the boats broke the blockade). Free Gaza openly and publicly announced they were giving passage to these people (I even posted it here) but that gets reported by Ynet as ‘Left-wing activists smuggle Palestinians out of Gaza‘ Now I have to say as smugglers the Free Gaza peeps are rubbish, first off they’ve completely failed on the whole sneaky secretive part, secondly as Gaza is supposedly no longer occupied by Israel how is it- Gazans leaving there with approval by Gazan authorities through Gazan territorial waters- smuggling anything? It’s like me saying Wales is smuggling pensioners into Ireland via the ferry to engage in merciless tea drinking and garden admiration tours. It’s only smuggling to one’s mind if you believe you have some right of control over the people in question, funny that.

PS. Jeff Halper has decided to stay after being arrested then released simply for being in Gaza-

Halper decided not to return to Cyprus with the rest of the activists. “I realized that the State is apparently planning to indict me, and so therefore I can’t sail back to Cyprus. I took this into account when I did what I did. I wanted to say that peace, and the connection between peoples, cannot be restricted by a military order.”

Posted in Human Rights, Media. Tags: , , . Comments Off
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 28 other followers